7 February 2011
Press Release
Note No. 6293

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

United Nations Secretary-General to Honour Courage, Ingenuity of Women


Who Braved Nazi Persecution during Holocaust


On 10 February, the United Nations Department of Public Information will honour women of the Holocaust at the sixth annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, in a ceremony to be held in the General Assembly Hall from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

The ceremony had originally been scheduled for 27 January, but had to be cancelled due to the closure of the United Nations Headquarters building as a result of inclement weather.

Focusing on the theme “Women and the Holocaust: Courage and Compassion”, this year’s observance will pay tribute to the bravery and ingenuity of the women who faced Nazi persecution with strength and dignity during the Second World War.  “Jewish women performed truly heroic deeds.  In the face of danger and atrocity, they bravely joined the resistance, smuggled food into the ghettos and made wrenching sacrifices to keep their children alive.  Their courage and compassion continue to inspire us to this day,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon.

The Secretary-General will deliver opening remarks in the ceremony hosted by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.  Others delivering statements will be Joseph Deiss (Switzerland), President of the General Assembly; Ehud Barak, Minister for Defence of Israel; and Rosemary DiCarlo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations.

Delivering the keynote speech will be Lenore Weitzman,Professor Emeritus of Sociology at George Mason University, who has devoted her career to advocating for women’s issues.  She co-edited the book Women in the Holocaust (1999), and is now completing a book on the “Kashariyot”, the young women who served as secret underground “couriers” for the Jewish resistance movements in the ghettos.

Also featuring in the memorial ceremony will be Nesse Godin, a Holocaust survivor originally from Lithuania.  As a child, Ms. Godin survived a ghetto, a concentration camp, four labour camps and a death march.  She has dedicated her life to teaching and sharing memories of her horrific experience and serves as a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Ádám Banda, a renowned concert violinist from Hungary, will perform and Yaakov Lemmer, Chief Cantor of the Congregation Anshe Shalom, will recite the memorial prayers.  Three students from the United Nations International School, Tinglan Cao, Boteng Maluke and Gabriela Ruiz Pez, will read excerpts from a diary and letters of women who perished in the Holocaust.

All guests must preregister to take part in the memorial ceremony.  Photo identification will be required and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please see the Programme’s website, www.un.org/holocaustremembrance, for registration details, and www.un.org/media/accreditation for media accreditation.

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For information media • not an official record